BATON ROUGE – The LSU women’s basketball team plays host to the NCAA Tournament First/Second Rounds for the third consecutive season and returns to the Maravich Center floor after a two-week hiatus when the seventh-seeded Lady Tigers square off with No. 10 seed Georgia Tech.
Sunday’s tip time is slated for 11:30 a.m., and the game will be televised by ESPN2 along with http://www.watchespn.com/ and the Watch ESPN App on tablets. No. 2 West Virginia and No. 15 seed Albany meet in the second contest at 2 p.m. on ESPN. The two winners face off in Tuesday’s second round action at 8:30 p.m. CT for a spot in next weekend’s NCAA Sweet 16.
All-session ticket books are $27 for adults and $17 for youth which includes admission to all three games of the NCAA First and Second Round hosted by the Maravich Center. Single-session tickets can be purchased at $16 for adults and $11 for youth. The single-session ticket allows admission into both first round games or the second round game only.
Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets for only $5 apiece, while LSU students will be admitted free to every Lady Tigers game with a valid LSU ID. The Maravich Center Box Office opens at 10 a.m. on the upper ramp.
LSU (19-12) and Georgia Tech (20-11) both earned at-large bids into the NCAA Field of 64. The SEC and ACC each tallied eight selections into the Big Dance. The Lady Tigers have won 15 consecutive opening round NCAA Tournament outings dating back to the 1997 season.
LSU earned its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid under head coach Nikki Caldwell and the program’s 15th appearance in the last 16 seasons since 1999. Overall, the Lady Tigers picked up its 23rd tournament selection which is tied for 10th most among the 2014 NCAA Field of 64.
“I think the one thing about this group is that they have stayed the course, although our record may not reflect that,” Caldwell said. “Every game that we have competed in, we've been in the game. We know that there are some areas that have challenged us, and we know there are areas that we can be better in. If we can focus in on that going into the tournament, which has been our primary focus, then we're going to have a better shot and chance at winning basketball games.”
Theresa Plaisance, an All-SEC First-Team selection for the second consecutive season, has turned in 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game - the only player ranked among the SEC’s Top 10 in all three categories. Plaisance has reeled off 21 straight 10-plus scoring efforts and picked up all six of her 20-plus performances against SEC opponents. Her 1,257 career points are 20th on LSU’s all-time list.
Raigyne Moncrief has pumped in 10.2 points per game which ranks 5th among SEC freshmen. She also has chipped in 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game as an All-SEC Freshman Team honoree. On the defensive end, Moncrief’s 1.9 steals per game are seventh on the leaderboard. The Florida native has come off the bench during LSU’s last five games.
Danielle Ballard has garnered a balanced 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. She has started in LSU’s last 20 games and picked up three 20-plus scoring performances. At the SEC Tournament, Ballard upped her marks to 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game fueled by 18 points against Alabama.
Jeanne Kenney has picked up her scoring especially from a three-point territory. The senior guard is averaging 11.6 points per game and canned 56 of her team-leading 70 triples over her last 21 games. Kenney has buried 40.2 percent of her three-point attempts, second-highest on the SEC leaderboard. She also has handed out 3.5 assists per game which is 11th in the SEC.
Shanece McKinney has secured 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. LSU has won all nine games when McKinney has amassed double figures this season. She registered 18 points, a career-high tying 10 rebounds and equaled a season’s best with four blocks during the Alabama win at the SEC Tournament.
DaShawn Harden has started LSU’s first three games of the season and the last five games of the season. She has notched 9.9 points per game as a starter with three of her five 10-plus point performances.
The Yellow Jackets have won seven of their last 10 games and are averaging by 79.7 points per game. Tyaunna Marshall, the program’s all-time leading scorer, has poured in 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game followed by Kaela Davis’ 18.6 points per game. Davis has knocked down 83 of her 190 field goals from three-point territory. After missing the last three games, Sydney Wallace is scheduled to return. She has posted 9.5 points per game. As a team, Georgia Tech has tallied 44.5 rebounds per game.
“Georgia Tech is a very relentless rebounding team,” Caldwell said. “We understand that their full court pressure, they will try to turn you over. They want you to make the mistake, and they do a nice job out of their buzz defense, as well. They've got phenomenal players that can create scoring opportunities not only for themselves but for their teammates so we're going to have to really be cohesive in our defensive attack and making sure that we don't enable teams like Georgia Tech to have those clear looks at the basket. We want to make sure that we're guarding the basketball with all five people.”
The winner of the Baton Rouge site will advance to the regional semifinal in Louisville, Ky., and face the winner of the Iowa City, Iowa, site which features No. 3 seed Louisville, No. 6 seed Iowa, No. 11 seed Marist and No. 14 seed Idaho. The 2014 NCAA Final Four will be played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @NikkiCaldwell on Twitter.